Professional dirt biking is both fun and exhilarating. Like with other demanding pursuits, you have to have a burning desire to be successful and love dirt bike racing. The pros understand that practicing is what separates an excellent racer from an average one, so you have to put in endless hours to become better. Dirt bike racers love winning and have to withstand an enormous amount of pressure on the course. You will, therefore, have to get used to working under pressure. Here is how you can become a dirt bike racer in 9 steps:
1. Learn to Ride a BMX or Mountain Bike
Most of the world’s cyclists begin by learning a BMX or a mountain bike. A BMX will help you adopt many essential skills including leg speed, bumping and pack riding, cornering, explosive power, aggressiveness, and jumping. After setting up your bike and protective gear, you can start freestyling on the BMX in a parking lot or a skate park or even in front of your house. Skate parks will typically have other bike riders to illustrate basic skills. You can work your way from the smaller ramps to big ones. Among the basic tricks in riding a BMX include how to bunny hop and manual and doing pump ramps.
Take your mountain bike on trails and find buddies to ride with. You can choose the hazards to overcome depending on your skills including wet roots, loose rocks, water pools, and deep sand. A mountain bike will help you to develop braking skills. Using brakes need good judgment, particularly when descending. You will additionally develop useful shifting techniques that will come in handy when you buy a dirt bike. Mountain bikers, as you will learn, fall a lot and you have to develop ways to minimize the damage to yourself when it happens.
2. Buy a Dirt Bike and Learn Riding It
Buying a dirt bike will not be an easy task considering the many models and brands available. Beginners commonly opt for used dirt bikes as they will go through levels of damage as a starter learns the mechanics of the sport. Used bikes are additionally cheaper, going for $500 to $2000. New bikes are priced at over $2000, with the premium ones going for as much as $8000. Play bikes serve beginners because it would not be the best idea to begin with the fastest models available. Trail bikes are the most popular motorcycles for dirt bikers, and they are fashioned to be used on rough terrain. Motocross bikes are ideal for high speeds and performance.
Now that you got your dirt bike ready for the outdoors, you will need to learn the basics of riding it. The ideal position is among the hardest parts of being on a dirt bike as it is more than simply sitting or standing. You will use your feet a lot as landing gears when rounding corners. Dropping a foot encourages the balance of weight distribution. You will need to learn how to use the clutch, throttle, brakes and how to shift, paddle along, and slow down.
3. Buy Decent Gear – Quality Helmet and Boots are Mandatory
Not only will you need to pack on a helmet, but it should be off high quality. Dirt biking helmets are commonly made from polycarbonate, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. The material should be sufficiently rigid but not so stiff that it hampers energy management. Helmets are fitted with a mouthpiece to encourage the movement of air. Select a bike helmet with DOT-certification and one which is from a reputable band. Good helmets have removable cheek and liner pads that you can remove and wash because of dirt and sweat. A quality pair of goggles supplements the helmet and protects your eyes from dust, debris, and rain. The lenses can be mirrored, clear, and colored, although they should promote maximum visibility.
The gloves you use should be tough enough to wither through the frequent friction with levers and grips. Opt for the ones that have a leather palm. Choosing a good jersey is paramount so that you are comfortable on the trail. They are typically made from lightweight materials so that they are thin, light, and durable. Jerseys made for warm weather conditions are commonly vented with mesh material to promote ample ventilation. Cold weather jerseys feature a fleece lining for maximum warmth. The jerseys have elbow pads, and there is extra switching on their seams for added protection. Dirt biking pants are often designed to accommodate a knee brace and should offer protection and comfort.
A quality riding boot will protect you from broken ankles and feet and cut shins. High-end selections feature in-built metal plates to discourage feet from flexing in an accident. Additional protective gear includes neck braces, chest protectors, and pads.
4. Go to Dirt Bike Tracks Regularly
It is now time to take your bike and gear to an actual track. Check your surrounding for a nearby track. Noise pollution and general complains targeted at racing tracks means that these areas have taken a hard hit in recent years. Most track venues will often impose strict regulations of use. Well-established circuits are the ideal locations as they will have different layouts to accommodate various skill levels. Once you start going to your track of choice, make your visits constant so that your learning curve is consistent. Going to tracks also means that you will interact with other riders and learn additional tips and tricks.
5. Get to a Motocross Coach to get Better
The top dirt bike riders invest in proper training. Good coaches must be involved in the sport in one way or another so that they offer an in-depth guide to their students. A good rider, however, does not always make an excellent coach. A good coach does not have to be out in the fields everyday but should be studying other races and riders to supplement their knowledge.
Choosing a good coach is necessary as you do not want an inexperienced instructor wasting your time with unnecessary guides. A coach will not only point out your mistakes but will also help with your training schedule. Additionally, a coach keeps tracks of a rider’s times and also trains them on different techniques used by pros.
If you are hesitant about where to start looking for a coach, you can try out motocross training schools near you. Professional training is essential because the right coach will influence your style, technique, and confidence. Not only is physical training important, but mental preparation is also necessary to become a pro. Motocross schools have tracks that will become important as you rise through the ranks from beginner to professional.
6. Make a Workout Plan
There is no single workout program followed by all riders and athletes. Trainers tailor-make each program depending on the body type, goals, and injuries of a dirt bike rider. Dirt biking needs a lot of muscle engagement and physical coordination. Regular riding is the most important workout plan for a rider, but since it is not always possible to race every day, you should supplement with other plans.
Your capability to handle forearm pump is the biggest factor to good riding. Constant shifting, breaking, and the throttle has a significant impact on your strength and endurance. Your training program should, therefore, include a lot of dumbbells, deadlifts, pull-ups, and kettlebells. Time tests will measure your grip strength. Your core will benefit from heavy squats and other workouts that target obliques and abs.
A rigid exercise plan is your enemy when making a workout plan. Include a variety of activities like swimming, gymnastics, sprinting, and jumping. Stretching will reduce the chances for injury and boost recovery time and flexibility. Muscle strength should be the basic focus of your workouts. Modern bikes are incredibly powerful, and half of the time you will be trying to maintain the grip on your motorcycle.
Nutrition is another important factor in dirt bike riding. You will have more carbohydrate needs than the average person because of the physical demands of the sport. Your diet should include high proteins and fats as well. Cut back on processed foods and supplement your diet with vitamin supplements. A good diet will encourage a healthier immune system and boost your energy, stamina, and mental clarity.
7. Get Your AMA Pro Racing License
To be legible for professional racing events, you need to acquire membership from the American Motorcycle Association. The AMA offers consistent guidelines to make racing safer and fairer. It further agitates for the rights of motorcyclists on the federal level and also supports local competitions.
Once you become a member, it is good practice to download and evaluate the organization’s competition rulebook. You will know which nationally-certified classes you can enter and how to configure your bike to become competition legal. Most riders participate in the official AMA classes, although AMA-chartered organizers commonly organize tournaments with local appeal.
8. Get Medical Insurance
If you lack insurance as a dirt bike rider, you may find yourself unable to pay the hefty prices that come with hospitals and rehabilitation in case of an accident. Most mainstream insurance services hesitate from high-risk sports which is why you will need to seek the services of a specialty insurance company.
Dirt bikes are not covered by a homeowner’s policy, and you need to get plans for your vehicle. Standard policies cover property damage and bodily injury liability so that if you hit another person, they will be well covered for any physical harm. This standard coverage can cost as little as $99 a year. A medical payments policy will settle the medical bills of a rider or passenger from any injuries while riding. The claim can be reported regardless of the party at fault for the rider, and it can supplement a rider’s insurance after they hit their health insurance limit.
A comprehensive coverage takes care of the bike by either replacing one or fixing one in the occurrence of thefts and disasters like floods and fires. If you ride in remote areas, you will need a cover that accommodates an air ambulance policy.
9. Practice as Much as You Can
To avoid getting overwhelmed on the track, you need to practice like a champion. Pro riders differentiate themselves from average riders by putting in the work. There will be a lot of sacrifices to make when it comes to getting time to go on the track.
Focus on one skill and on getting better at it by doing drills. The skills can be cornering, jumping, braking, and throttle. They are known as drills because athletes do them over and over again until a skill becomes second nature. For beginners, the diversity of typical riding conditions in motocross means that conditioning and practice are necessary for improvement. You will have to be in shape from one competition to another, and since no competition is the same, you need to practice as much as possible. Riding is the best training there is as it utilizes all the muscles you need.
Practicing in various weather conditions will get you ready for any occurrence. Riding in the rain, for example, presents a whole new set of challenges because the landings become slippery and you need to maintain traction. Ride with riders that are more advanced than you are to pick up more skills. Enlist in a local competition to test the skills that you have accumulated over your journey.
Dirt bike riding is an enjoyable sport, but only if you do it right. If you have been dreaming of doing the stunts in YouTube videos, it is about time you got started on the venture. To start, you can familiarize yourself with a mountain bike or BMX and learn some basic drills. A dirt bike presents a whole new challenge. Like all extreme adventures, pack on protective gears to protect your body. As bike racers will tell you, you will fall a lot and accumulate bruises and even broken bones. To minimize the damage, purchase such gear as neck braces, protective boots, helmets, gloves, and goggles.
Bike racers commonly start with local tracks and events, so it is advisable to get around the local motocross community. You need an AMA pro racing license to participate in racing events. For safety, opt for a comprehensive insurance cover that covers you, your bike, and third parties. Practice as much as you can and seek the guidance of more seasoned riders.